Encouragement Pages-8/05/2019-For The Novices

One thing before we start this week, dear one.

I know that admitting that you are a writer is a little crazy-feeling. The same feeling you get when you unlock a door. I know that you don’t totally understand. I know that you may not even know where to begin! But, I want you to embrace that.

It’s not a curse.

It’s not a deficit.

You are a writer. You have ideas, and people, and worlds within you. It’s time for you to let them out.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-08/02/2019

Today, dear ones, I want you to get angry.

Why?

I want you to use that fire and learn to focus that to your writing! I want you to learn how to work negative energy and emotions. Blurt it out on the pages. Scrawl on scrap paper. Scream it into your voice recorders! But don’t roll up with that fire, dear ones.

Work it.

All the heat, all that fire, all that is your kindling.

Light it.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-07/31/2019-Visibility

I want you to think about your current work in progress. I want you to think about what would happen if you took the limits off your own talent. I want you to think about what your work would become if you allowed yourself to write like no one was looking.

Or watching.

Or would care.

And that feeling? Take that and run with it.

The only person that can stop you is you.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Invisible People To The Rescue!

The thing that keeps me writing, is that I feel I am on a constant treasure hunt. I either am learning, learning about the world around me, or learning more about myself. In and with that level of learning, you also get to read people. You get to know what the people in your inner circle like and don’t like. Even with learning your audience, you also realize what people expect you to write.

This is a dangerous lull to get into as a writer. Don’t rest on the laurels of what you believe people expect you to write. You will never grow, you will never be challenged, and it may just drive you mad.

How does a pen name fit in with this? Well, it is a way to explore without everyone (or anyone) knowing what you are up to. A pen name allows you to spy on the world, without ever the world around you knowing. Or ever knowing.

If you have a topic or subject matter that you think maybe risque? Don’t think to throw it away! At least not altogether. One of the ways to facilitate writing for it is to try writing behind a pen name. There is a freedom in this type of anonymity: you get to create as you see fit without the hindrance of the opinions of other people.

You get to dive deep into your subject matter, expound on things you had only whispered about or written in diaries. Your pen name is you in a superhero form. That’s how I look at the names I write under aside from my own. It’s a way that I get to explore, flip, twist and relax as I write.

A pen name gives me space to exhale deeply; especially in uncharted waters (aka genres that I normally don’t write in). It is not something mandatory every writer has or will ever use. But it’s a fail safe: in case of emergency break glass.

As a writer, you shouldn’t short change yourself! Use all resources at your disposal. That includes the ones you have to make for yourself. You’ll be surprised how far you can go–once you let yourself go.

Encouragement Pages-07/29/2019

Good writing can be two things: soothing and terrifying.

Soothing because you’re writing! You are getting something that was only a thought, converting it to something tangible! Be proud of that, first and foremost. Not every one does.

Terrifying because it could be a genre you didn’t think about writing before. It could be revisiting a draft you were unsure of before! Stephen King even says that the scariest part is going to be right before you begin.

So, begin.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

New Book-June 2020

“I write for young girls of color, for girls who don’t even exist yet, so that there is something there for them when they arrive. I can only change how they live, not how they think.” -Ntozake Shange (1948-2018)

This book, is a heart work. I believe I am in the position, emotional space and grace to compile this book. The quote given here by she whose name translates ‘she who walks with lions‘ is the inspiration behind this book. 


I am of the age and background where I heard this phrase a lot. Too much, if I am honest. For how I look, dress, speak or negotiate the world. Something about me being Black, female, and this place of other, this phase was used to describe me.

“You’re pretty for a Black girl.”

“You’re smart for a Black girl.”

“For a Black girl, you carry yourself well.”

“For a Black girl, you don’t talk like we do.”

And on. And on. And et cetera. So with this book, I wish to leave something for the Black girls that feel as if they have no place in the world; don’t know where to look for one; or even wish, plan, hope to leave it. 

This book will be a collection of essays written by Black women and girls, by Black women and girls. They will range from joys and triumph to grief and loss. Even things that are hilarious and fall somewhere in between. Essay must be a minimum two pages. Proper credit for all work will be given. If your essay is selected, you will be notified. If you work is not selected, your work will not be included with that entry being sent back to you. 

If you desire to submit an essay, please email me at theladyofharris@gmail.com.

The release date is my birthday:  June 24, 2020.